The Delaware Valley freaked out this week after an earthquake sent a few tremors its way. Despite all the hysteria, it packed about as much destructive force as a fart in a gym sock.
In other words, don’t expect any sympathy cards from Southern California or anyone in Japan.
Hurricane Irene came barreling through this weekend, toppling trees, swelling rivers, and adding even more rain to an already record amount for August. It was a much more significant natural event than the ground-shaking “cataclysm” earlier this week.
So, even though I heard more than a couple hand-wringers speak ominously of the coming apocalypse, I refused to get caught up in the hype. Instead of fretting about the quake or heading for the hills before Irene hit, I did what, to me, seemed logical:
I went to a ballgame.
Sensing that all was right with the world if I could watch some baseball, I took my daughter along with one of her friends to a Trenton Thunder game on Friday night.
I’ve been a baseball fan since the Nixon Administration and took in quite a few games growing up. Most of the time I went to either Yankee Stadium or Shea Stadium (whenever I couldn’t watch a good team).
Munching hot dogs and drinking soda under a crystal blue sky while watching eighteen guys chase a little white ball around an emerald field was heaven (in my adolescence I discovered girls, which opened up my definition of heaven somewhat).
Once I moved here, I made a point to go to Veterans Stadium (later, Citizens Bank Park) to watch the Phillies get mauled and then eventually do the mauling. It was every bit as exciting as going to watch the Yankees (with the added benefit of not being shot at two blocks from the stadium).
As time went on, I began to realize that feeding my baseball “jones” was an expensive proposition.
Between decent seats, concessions, parking, and assorted fan paraphernalia for me and my kids, I could easily drop $500. Add to that the frustration of getting there and dealing with the omnipresent drunks (to say nothing of relentless chants of “Yankees suck!”-even when the Phillies were playing the Braves), and I began to feel that my days of going to the “bigs” were nearing their close.
Refusing to succumb to weekends spent doing chores, I decided to give our abundant minor league teams a shot. Scoffing that I would be watching something like Little League, I wasn’t expecting much.
From my first game watching the Reading Phillies, though, I was hooked. Instead of considering myself lucky that I grabbed high-priced, nosebleed tickets which placed my head in peril from a jet’s landing gear, I paid a whopping $18.00 for two seats.
Two rows behind homeplate!
Add to that the price of lunch, and I still paid less than one ticket at Yankee Stadium (which, by the way, now sells a bottle of water-water!-for $5.00).
Oh, yeah, did I mention parking? Parking was free.
In the years since, I’ve also gone to an Iron Pigs game in Allentown and, like I’ve already said, a Trenton Thunder game. Each experience has been as pleasant as my first time in Reading. Imagine that. Watching ballplayers who are playing to impress, not for million dollar sneaker deals.
I can only assume the teams in Camden and Wilmington are just as worthwhile.
I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the likes of Yankee Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, and Camden Yards. Still, I don’t want to subsidize Alex Rodriguez’s and Cliff Lee’s salaries anymore.
So, the next time you have a few dollars to spend and want to enjoy a great time for a reasonable price, by all means take in a minor league game.
Oh, the game? The Trenton Thunder lost, 4-2, when they couldn’t hold a 2-1 lead in the 9th inning.
My daughter and I won, though.
And even got a couple of bobbleheads.